Foie out: a culinary dilemma

The text message was short and to the point: “Do you want some foie gras?”

My fingers hovered above my phone. What to reply?

I thought about it for a minute or two, then texted back: “Um, is it bad to say YES PLEASE?”

Depending on your point of view, foie gras is either one of the most delectable foodstuffs of all time or the cruel byproduct of man’s inhumanity to animals. There’s no delicate way to put this, but it’s made from the engorged livers of ducks or geese who have been force-fed. Lovers of foie gras, which is most often made into pate, swoon at the thought of its creamy, rich, flavours whereas animal rights advocates are more likely to faint from suppressed rage.

Our benefactor, a vegetarian, had received this precious jar from some visiting French friends. She gave a Gallic shrug when I asked her about it, claiming it didn’t bother her whether other people ate it or not, but she knew it would go to waste at her place. So it’s now sitting in our fridge, with a large chunk missing after a visiting lover of foie gras and France seized upon it with absolute delight. Perhaps he should have taken it with him, because I haven’t quite been able to follow suit yet.

Where do you stand on the foie gras debate? Is there anything else you don’t eat for ethical reasons?



  1. February 2, 2011 / 7:14 pm

    I generally avoid it but have tasted it (we went to Gordon Ramsay's for our 30th birthdays and I declined it and was given Skye scallops instead – bonus! – but Steve had it so I tried some off his plate – was perfectly nice but I'm not bothered about not having it). And, I would definitely eat your jar rather than it going to waste. I would eat it without feeling guilty as I wouldn't have paid for it so I reckon that's fine.

  2. February 2, 2011 / 7:38 pm

    I'm with the person above, if I was gifted a jar I'd accept without question but wouldn't go out and buy it myself. That way I don't feel like I'm supporting the industry. Same goes for veal.
    Enjoy it though, it is delicious 🙂

  3. February 2, 2011 / 9:03 pm

    Not a fan of foie gras or veal … for the issues you discussed, but I must admit that I love the flavor of both. As years have gone by, I've come to the point where I can't justify limiting a creature's existence that much to justify a wonderful flavor or tender cut.

  4. February 2, 2011 / 9:42 pm

    couldn't do it, also can't eat Kangaroo which is sold here in the supermarkets the kiwi girl in me says "you cant eat skippy" ….

  5. February 2, 2011 / 11:11 pm

    It's a decision that all must struggle with. I won't buy it, but I will eat it if served to me. I know that's hypocritical and cowardly, bu at least I'm honest about it. I'm new to your blog and have spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I like the food you feature here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  6. February 3, 2011 / 1:10 am

    Foul stuff ( no pun intended ) and I hate the way us goodies suddenly become dumbasses just because it's supposed to be some culinary masterpiece. Liver of tortured animals for goodness sake?!? I'm no vegetarian but this is messed up in-humane nonsense. I wouldn't have had it in my house, free or not. We need to wise up… and now I'll step down from my soap box.

  7. February 3, 2011 / 4:16 am

    Say a little blessing for the lovely birds who gave of themselves without freedom of choice and without complaint (probably) and a prayer for us humans that we might become enlightened and caring and ..go for it!

  8. February 3, 2011 / 9:10 am

    Sorry….I couldn't do it either…….But Joan made me laugh……

  9. February 3, 2011 / 10:35 am

    I was given some by my sister after a trip to France some years ago. It sat in my cupboard for months before finally being thrown away because I couldn't face eating it. However, I must say that throwing it away didn't make me feel any better. I should have eaten it, after all the poor geese had already suffered and now their suffering had been for nothing. I understand your dilemma. Perhaps you could pass it on?

  10. February 3, 2011 / 6:08 pm

    it is a dilemma. I have eaten it, but before I knew how it was made. Once I knew I have never eaten it – sorry. I also do not eat veal and havent since I was a young teenager and became aware of how that was produced too. I try to buy free range meat or soil association accredited. But in your case, I'm with Joan!

  11. February 3, 2011 / 7:08 pm

    Rose veal is fine to eat – there is no cruelty involved – it's just the white stuff should be avoided.

    I'm not really sure where I stand on the Foie Gras – I wouldn't buy it, but eating a gift is a different matter.

  12. February 3, 2011 / 11:07 pm

    hmmm… I'm probably the same with most of the comments above. I wouldn't buy foie gras, but if I were given it as a gift or served to me at dinner, that's a different matter. I buy and eat veal.
    Regarding other food products, whenever possible I only buy meats, eggs, etc from good sources (free range or organic).

  13. February 8, 2011 / 6:02 pm

    This has been really interesting – I've loved reading all your comments. In the end, I unscrewed the lid, took a sniff and thought, 'urgh, catfood!' I haven't eaten foie gras for years and maybe my palate has changed. So I gave it to the friend who was really keen on it. Better to be a candle than curse the darkness (to mix a metaphor or two!)

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